Thousands oppose Hungarian bill banning discussion of LGBT issues

Budapest, June 15, (dpa/GNA) - Thousands of people turned out to demonstrate in Hungary against a draft law that would target the rights of LGBT minors and prohibit discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation.

The rally, organized by human rights groups, was held in front of the parliament in Budapest.

Under the law that was published last week, educational programmes with the aim of raising awareness for respectful treatment of LGBT people would be banned in schools, for example.

The proposal also includes a ban of books, films and other content directed at children and teenagers that feature non-heterosexual behaviour.

References to the possibility of gender reassignment are also to be prohibited, for example in books and films. Furthermore, any kind of advertising in which homosexuals or transsexuals are shown as part of normal life is to be banned.

The draft law also includes stricter penal provisions for sexual violence against children and teenagers. Among other things, the bill aims to protect children's "right to their gender identity conceived at birth."

Participants at the rally waved rainbow flags and speakers demanded the bill be withdrawn, criticizing that the bill equated homosexuality with sexualized violence against children.

The law was expected to be passed on Tuesday.

The right-wing nationalist government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban has used homophobic rhetoric and restricted the rights of LGBT people in the past.

Last year, for example, a law banned citizens who have undergone gender reassignment surgery from registering their new gender in official documents.